Covert Drone War
The use of Predator and Reaper drones (unmanned flying vehicles that are often armed with video-guided missiles) by the US military and CIA is a largely untold story of the "Global War on Terror / Global Contingency Operation" - yet has caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, many of whom are women and children.
Last May 23, in a major speech on the "war on terror," President Barack Obama claimed he was instituting new, more extensive legal oversight of U.S. drone strikes, and repeated his commitment to "due process." Obama's speech was, in part, a response to the widespread global outrage at his escalation of drone strikes (four times the number conducted by George W. Bush), the tensions that these had created between the U.S. and its allies, as well as what Obama acknowledged were the "constitutional issues" raised by the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki and three other American citizens in drone strikes—in other words, profound issues of legality and legitimacy.
“...the Trespass and Disordered Conduct of those drones are not a defense against terrorism, but rather embody terrorism and may well generate retaliatory terrorism”
Ed Kinane, CLOSING STATEMENT, Charges: trespass & disorderly conduct, Trial of the "Hancock 17," Judge David S. Gideon presiding, De Witt, NY Town Court, 31 January 2014
Good evening Judge Gideon, prosecutor Mc Namara, court staff, our many supporters here, and my fellow defendants.
Obama has launched over 390 covert drone strikes in his first five years in office
Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.
Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't)
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?"
“...when the other four men died – a result of ‘guilt by association’ – Hale realized he ‘was no longer part of something moral or sane or rational.’”
Last weekend, I participated in a panel on the illegality of drones and targeted killing off the battlefield at the conference, “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance,” in Washington DC. Nearly 400 people from many countries came together to gather information, protest, and develop strategies to end targeted killing by combat drones.
A Yemeni civil engineer, who spoke at the 2013 Drone Summit organized by the peace group, CODEPINK, has come to the United States to share his story about how a US drone strike killed his two relatives.
“The villagers marched the next day, chanting: ‘Obama, why do you spill our blood?’”
Faisal bin ali Jaber, a Yemeni man whose relatives were killed in a US drone strike, is traveling to the United States this week to tell his story to Congress and human rights activists at this weekend’s Drone Summit (which I’m covering for Truthout, FYI).
For the past 12 years, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has been waging what it initially called a global "war on terror." Through various adjustments and "rebrandings," this has included the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq; the construction of a massive apparatus to spy on people all over the world; and increasingly global drone warfare: missiles fired from unmanned aircraft, or drones.